It’s time for political action to combat plastic pollution entering the marine environment, The Greens say.
The NSW Greens have announced a plan to phase out all single-use plastics in NSW by the end of 2023 including an immediate ban on bags, straws, microbeads and polystyrene.
It follows grassroots campaigns against single-use plastic bags, for example.
NSW Greens MLC and healthy oceans spokesperson Justin Field released the plan during a visit to Port Macquarie on February 5.
The Greens will introduce a Bill in the next term of Parliament which sets a new benchmark for action to deal with plastic pollution.
The Bill seeks to introduce explicit “marine plastics elimination targets” to drive urgent action including to reduce plastic waste entering the marine environment by 90 per cent by 2020 and banning easily replaceable products like bags, straws, microbeads and polystyrene now.
The Greens also want all packaging used in NSW to be either recyclable, compostable or reusable by the end of 2023.
“There is no political cost to do this because overwhelmingly the public is behind it,” Mr Field said.
He said people were proud of their coastal environment and many community groups were active too.
“They have become quite frustrated and they don’t understand what the barrier to change is,” Mr Field said.
“I honestly think it’s now our job to create the political space through Parliament for us to do this.
“At the end of the day, we all have an interest in a healthy environment.”
Mr Field said the build-up of plastic in our environment was at unprecedented and growing levels.
“We need urgent action to reduce the large amount of human-generated plastic in our oceans, rivers and environment,” he said.
“There are alternatives to plastic and the Greens plan will help the community make the transition away from plastic as soon as possible.”
The Greens Port Macquarie candidate Drusi Megget said coastal communities like Port Macquarie knew the problem plastic marine debris was causing.
“The community’s support for the war on waste and cleaning up our beaches and parks to stop plastic entering the ocean is fantastic but political leadership is needed to turn off the tap that sees more and more plastic entering the environment,” Ms Megget said.
The Greens single-use plastic phase out strategy forms parts of a Healthy Oceans Plan.
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